Earplugs + singing + Help! Is there any way?!

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Matthew Bryson, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Okay, here's the deal. My band is loud - and I do some singing.

    I can play bass with ear plugs in. I can not sing. I've tried. I just can't sing with ear plugs in.

    I’ve come to realize that I’ve done damage. I’m getting to a point where I almost cannot stand the ringing in my ear when I go to bed at night. I know I’ve caused damage, and I know I need to stop doing damage.

    As far as I know, there are only two solutions to my problem.

    1)Get the whole band to turn down.
    2) Stop playing with the band.

    After failing numerous attempts at number 1, I’ve been forced to go ahead with number 2. :(I’m very sad about this, as they are all great people and the best players I’ve ever played with. This was a very hard decision for me.

    I suppose that the 3rd option would be to refuse to sing any leads or backups so that I could use ear plugs 100% of the time. For some reason I’d feel really bad about that – I’ve always thought that having backing vocals adds a lot to the band, and our lead singer has always voiced that he wants somebody else to sing leads on a few so that he doesn’t have to do all of the singing all of the time. I’d feel pretty weird about refusing to sing.

    I’ll also feel pretty weird about going deaf. I’ve already given notice to the band (stating that I have personal and family reasons, and that I need to spend my time at home – I didn’t want to bitch about anything else once I knew what I had to do)

    Is there ANYTHING else I could do? Any magic way to sing with ear plugs in, or some type of magic ear plug that would… I don’t, let through the lower decibel levels unaltered and only cut off the high decibel stuff? Has anybody had any success singing with ear protection? Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
  2. How about in ear monitors?
  3. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I don't know anything about them. I'm just a hobbiest guy and I've only been doing this a couple of years. Do they block out enough sound to provide ear protection, and would I just have my vocals in the monitors? I'll try a search and see what I can learn. Thanks.
  4. If you can get the whole band on in ears, the stage volume can go as low as possible considering you'll still have drums and non-direct things that are miked like guitar amps. In fact, guitar amps can be placed elsewhere if needed to reduce stage volume. You will have your own mix. You'll still have something in your ears altering the way you hear your voice to an extent, but it will be MUCH better.
  5. Inflin


    Apr 30, 2007
    Newcastle, UK/Currently London
    Affiliated with Genelec, Avalon Design.
    What kind of earplugs do you use? The regular foam types cut sound in a way that doesn't lend itself to music. The more expensive (not too bad though, and they're reusable) silicone ones are much better, you don't lose any frequencies. You can hear what you could hear with them out, but quieter.

    Music stores often stock them now, brand names escape me, I'm afraid.
  6. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Why did you make up a reason to leave the band? Why not lay it out about your hearing? Maybe they want you in the band w/o singing? Maybe they'll turn down? What's happening to their hearing if they are not wearing ear plugs?

    Also, what if you wore the in ear monitor (IEM) in one ear and an ear plug in the the other? Maybe some other TB'rs have experience with this setup.
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Here's something you might to check out in your area:
    Custom fitted silicon ear plugs - http://www.hear-more.com/musician.htm

    Here's a quote from the website:
    "Once the earplugs are inserted, employees forget them and can move from high dB levels to normal conversation without removing or adjusting them."

    Attached Files:

  8. OtterOnBass


    Oct 5, 2007
    This is what I've been dealing with lately. New drummer is awesome and loud. Now I wear ear plugs all the time. I only sing back-ups, but I'm not a good singer so it's very important to be able to hear myself. I've found having one ear plug in helps me to hear my pitch, but not my volume. I just had some molds made for musician's ear-plugs at my local audiologist. Hopefully when I get them next week I'll be able to wear both, hear my voice in my ear, and hear how loud I'm singing.
  9. i use ER-20s the work fine for me even if i have to sing backings. but from your post it seems that my band is not as loud yours but which ear plugs have you been using?
  10. +1 on fitted earplugs
  11. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Thanks for the good info, people...

    I feel stupid... I've been using the foam type that we have by the thousands at work... not the right kind I guess.

    All of the reasons I gave the band were very real, I just left out the “too loud” part because I really, really like these guys and didn't want to "point a finger" in any way... and I guess because I'm not very good with communication - anyway, they didn't buy it - they knew there was something more I wasn't saying, so I did lay it out there about my hearing. Honesty is good, I parted with the band on the very best terms.

    Now I’m going to get the right type of ear plugs and practice at home singing through a mic with ear plugs in – whether that works out or not (singing) the next time I play bass with a band I will use ear plugs no matter what.

    Now, what can I do about this constant ringing in my ears?
  12. foam ear plugs do not cut out all frequencies evenly and make things sound funny. an ideal (~good) pair of earplugs should make everything sound the same but only less louder, however ideal is very hard to find in real life but anyway good ear plugs should set you fine!
    and i really am not sure if anything much can be done about the ringing in your ears, i have done some damage too, you would slowly get somewhat used to it. other than that the ringing only rings in when you are in super quiet places like maybe your bedroom or someplace so try to have some slight (pleasing) sound source around like an audio system playing at low volumes enough to overpower the ringing

    edit: but for me even a fan or a/c running is enough to not hear the ringing but again perhaps my ringing is far lesser louder than yours. ringing gets louder when after i attend other bands gig (which i used too, earlier, being right up in the front headbanging with fellas!) but now i go to EVERY gig with them ear plugs me playing or not. since i have kinda long hair no one can really see them